Many patients dread going to the doctor. Not only can medical appointments be uncomfortable and embarrassing, but navigating the maze of modern healthcare is very confusing. Elderly patients and young people have an especially hard time and may put off necessary care to avoid the hassle. If you would like to make visiting your practice easier and more enjoyable for your patients, here are four ways to help.
Make the Waiting Room Comfortable
Waiting for an appointment provokes anxiety and stress for many patients, and those cold chairs and droning television don’t help. Make your waiting room a comfortable space for patients to prepare for their appointments by providing desks or tables, pens, paper and free Wi-Fi access. This gives new patients an opportunity to carefully fill in their medical histories and check their insurance. Remember to provide toys and coloring books for children.
Schedule Appointments Early
Everyone has that patient who is perpetually late for appointments. Stop wasting time and rushing through their visits by scheduling all your appointments 15 minutes early. For example, book a patient you plan to see at 10:30 for an appointment at 10:15. You can stay on schedule and provide more attentive care while your patients will be none the wiser.
Offer an Online Portal
Many people are more comfortable booking appointments and communicating with doctors online rather than over the phone or in person. Bring your office into the 21st century with an online portal. You might think that an online portal means more employees hired and extra time spent, but utilizing a conversational interface technology platform allows a virtual assistant to handle tasks like scheduling appointments and answering basic health questions.
Medical appointments often go by in a rush, which means patients may leave the office without fully understanding the doctor’s orders. Reduce confusion and increase compliance by following up with your patients a day or two after their visit. A simple phone call, email or letter is a great way to clarify instructions for patients. For elderly and severely ill patients, consider sending a visiting nurse to their homes to monitor compliance, explain their care to them and answer questions.
Remember, healthcare employees often find the process confusing too. These ideas not only make things easier for your patients but also for you and your staff. Caring for patients who are well-informed, relaxed and comfortable is always easier than rushing around and dealing with dozens of questions.